Sunday, December 16, 2012

Vienna, chapter one

It has been a long long while since I have posted anything on this blog. 
Firstly, lack of time should be a good excuse. 
Secondly, my beloved camera went broken, what resulted in a severe depression :(
Luckily, during the trip to Vienna, a friend of mine took some photos, which will be posted soon (I hope!).

We spent two wonderful, very chilling and prolific days and the capital of Austria
I have been there for the first time 16 years ago and I had a completely diferent image of the city. It is so classy and elegant, that I almost felt overwhelmed and intimidate... But about the city itself, I would like to write some other time.
Two days is never enough to make an effective city exploration, but we managed to see everything that we planned. One of these places was Belvedere Museum
I am delighted that we managed to visit this museum. Belvedere is a complex baroque building erected by Prince Eugene of Savoy. It consists of the Upper and Lower Belvedere. In the first mentioned there is an art gallery where the visitors can admire works of such artists as Gustav Klimt, Caspar David Friedrich or Egon Schiele.

Price: 8,50 euro (if you are a student)
Impressions: Priceless

I am a devoted fan of Gustav Klimt's art, which affects me to a massive extend. 
It is an unbelievable expereince when you're admiring a piece of art, and in the meantime you can feel a pleasant chill running down your spine. This is what I am experiencing each time I see a piece of art that I like. I have never been an expert in this particular field, never studied history of art, and as a result I divide art into this I like and this I do not like. However, Klimt has a special meaning for me. I remember a small mirror that I was given by my friend. On the cover there was a motif of Klimt's "Kiss", which in curently one of my favorite paintings.
In Belvedere Museum you can admire this particular piece of art. When I saw it, I barely resisted myself from touching it... 

Klimt in most of his works from the latter period presented both femme fatale or a motif of everlasting love. 
"Kiss" introduces love that is both passionate, but uncertain. Uncertainty is presented by the lady's feet placed almost on the precipice... But the flowers on the lover's heads evoke rather passion and what do the people who are in love feel - an absolute bliss... It is believed that "Kiss" presents Gustav Klimt and his life companion Emilie Floge as lovers.
What is more, I enjoyed the fact that Klimt's art was confroned with Egon Schiele's paintings. Schiele was a protege of Klimt, however, his paintings differ from his masters. They evoke some sort of anxiety, are also twisted and very intensive... I remember especially two painting of these two artists which are entitled in a similar way. Both present mother with two children. On Egon's work the faces of the figures are twisted and dead, while Klimt presented calmness of the family and some sort of softness... 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Berliner luft, p.2

You need to have eyes around your head.
As I mentioned in the previous post: I fell in love with this city. What I experienced is its cultural diversity and tolerance. This is a cosmopolitan capital with a flourished architecture and town planning. 

In Berlin there are: 3 big operatic stages, 7 symphonical orchestras, round 150 theatres and 150 (or so) museums, ore than 300 art galleries, over 100 cinemas and many more cultural institutions. 

Oranienburger Strasse:
before the outbreak of the Second World War it was a part of the Jewish district. Nowadays, this is a popular among tourists location because of its rich nightlife. It is an artistical centre as well. 
What is more, Oranienburger Strasse is known for prostitution too. Prostitution,though, is legal in Germany.

Walking along the street made that I felt some sort of anxiety. We entered a building which resembled a church - well, originally, it could have been a church. I haven't found any information to confirm my thoughts. Anyway, the atmosphere was absolutely both magical and bohemian. There were many artists offering their works. You could buy some original jewellery, paintings presenting some psycho visions, clothes recycled by the artists themselves...

Ghost story:
it is said that Oranienburger street is haunted. 
It is claimed that the building on Oranienburger Strasse 41 you can sometimes hear or even see spirits of two children. Their identity and age are unknown, but what is known is that each visitor of the building needs to put a coin beween the bricks in the wall and make a wish. If this is a modest and unselfish wish, children are likely to make it come true. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Berliner luft, p.1

Never have I thought that Berlin may somehow conquer my heart. We spent there three really intensive days in case it could be the last opportunity to visit the city. Initially we did the sightseeing on foot, but soon we realized that on such a slow pace we won't be able to see even the half of the places we intended. We rented bikes and discovered the city's cultural and architercural diversity. 

We started our trip in Warsaw. I'm an owl, so waking up at 4 in the morning was a huge challenge... We took a bus from Katowice to the capital of Poland. Warsaw is a city that bears both negative and positive felings. You hate it or love it. But still has that charm that I gradually discover. Each time I visit the city, I realise that it is magical. A little bit strange, a little bit confusing sometimes, but charming. We spent there almost the whole day wandering here and there. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't cooperative (especially in the evening) when we were heading to catch the couch to Berlin. 

Couch was by far the cheapest way to get to the capital of Berlin. It was a real bargain to get the tickets, although I didn't have to book them in advance... 

At 9 am we were in Berlin. This time we decided to stay in a hostel, especially this was the first trip like that for my brother. You know, he got used to package holidays and travel's agencies, while I prefer organising everything on my own. I love looking for bargains, low ticket prices and I get proud of myself when I manage to organise a really cheap and at the same time exciting trip. So was Berlin. 
Transportation: is excellent. You will get wherever you want and the means of transportations are available every 5-10-15 minutes. Having to choose between a bus, a tram, an U-bahn or an underground, we decided to rent a bike.
More information about Berlin transportation HERE.

What I like about doing the sightseeing by a bike is that you are absolutely mobile. Obvious, isn't it? Besides, renting a bike costs approximately between 10 - 15 euro per day. Not that cheap, not that expensive as well, but fun guaranteed for sure. Sometimes we had to stop to check the map every five minutes, as getting lost in Berlin is a piece of cake. And what conquered my heart is that cycling in Germany differs for cycling in any Polish city. Why? Well, I crossed the zebra crossing so many times and I did not pay the fine (unlike in Poland) that I was amost ready to move to Berlin... Being mobile is one thing, but sometimes you miss a lot, especially when the city is so diverse and 'the devil is in a detail'.

The devil is in the detail: 
The devil is in the detail indeed. Three days? Not enough to catch the city's each single detail. I desperately wanted to 'immortalize' its every single street art, mural, architectural detail... Surpisingly, I did not manage. I take photos in case I forgot... Initially, I bravely tried to take a photograph of every single thing that caught my eye, but how quickly did I give up....

Cultural and architectural diversity caught me eye. I could take a trip around several architectural styles: from pure modernity of Posdamer Platz, sociasist style along Karl-Marx Allee or artistical Oranienburger Strasse. 

Three days in Berlin: 
On the one hand, not enough, but on the other - enough to realise if this is one of your places to be on Earth. 
Berlin is a huge city and visiting all the most important/interesting places is simply impossible. 

We started the sightseeing form Reichstag, which is the seat of German Parliament.

Bear i mind that if you want to admire the 'Berliner' view from the Reichstag's dome, you need to make a reservation in advance (at least two days before your visit). Of course, the entrance is for free.

There's an interesting story connected with the building of Reichstag too. In 1995, as a result of an artistical act, the building disappeared for one month. Two performers, Christo and his wife Jeanne - Claude, with a little help of few professional climbers, wrapped Reichstag with a silver foil and a blue bow. As a result the seat of Parliament looked like a huge Christmas gift. The whole action involved great expense, but was incredibly popular as well.

Then we reached the Brandenburger Gate, which is the symbol of united Germany. Its symbol is visible on the coins of 10, 20 and 50 eurocents. What is more, in the northern annexe of the Gate there is a meditation place.

From the Brandenburger Gate there goes Unter den Linden street which, through the Island of Museums, leads to the Alexander Platz.
Museum Insel: well, this time we decided nt to visit any of the museums. It was a real shame, but on the other hand, we lacked of time. We did not miss the DDR Museum, which is definitely worth visiting. Interactive, fun and educational.

to be continued...